Local News

Apr 14, 2010 10:48 PM by Monica Quintero

Cal Poly student death highlights a shortage of student transportation options

The Cal Poly student who was killed while crossing Highway 101 on Easter Sunday had been drinking and using drugs. That's according to a newly-released toxicology report from the CHP. It said 21-year-old Matthew Hurlbutt had cocaine, marijuana, and a high level of alcohol in his system when he was struck and killed. Friends told KSBY News Hurlbutt was crossing the highway as a shortcut to get home from downtown San Luis Obispo. Some said this tragedy highlights a shortage of transportation options for students.

A few years back, the "safe ride" program offered Cal Poly students a cheap trip home when they'd had a few too many drinks. But the program was cut in 2006 due to a series of violent incidents and a lack of funding. Jason Cummings, a San Luis Obispo resident, said, "I think it would help to have another service that is accessible." Mary Boyce, a Cal Poly student, said, "I think more options wouldn't hurt."

"Safe ride" charged only $3 each way and it was a hit with students. In 2006, they gave about 3,400. In 2005, around 7,700 and in 2004 more than 11,000. Students said taxi's are hard to come by and have a big down side. They said one big problem with cabs, they only take you home. Yes, you have a designated driver, but they leave behind your vehicle. Justin Morgan recently launched a service he called sober scooter. He drives intoxicated people home in their own cars throwing his scooter in the trunk. Morgan said, "What I hope to do is offer a new alternative to taxis which are often too busy to take people home." He went on to say, "Instead of taking a taxi both ways, taking a taxi in the morning to pick up your car with a parking ticket on it. You have your car safely in your drive way."

Morgan charges about $20 a ride and has a legion of online fans who say he's saving live, but ride at your own risk. He does not have a licence for his service and police said that means he should not be operating. San Luis Obispo police said they are trying to help in this effort. They give local businesses cards with transportation services offered in the area and the businesses then give those to patrons. KSBY News also talked with a local resident who said he's trying to revive "safe ride" and agrees there is a need for more transportation. But he said it's still early in the process.

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